(Credit: Phil Allaway)

Tequila Patron ESM on Watkins Glen Pole

If you look solely at the results sheet, it would tell you that Tequila Patron ESM has dominated the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.  Two endurance races, two overall victories.  Round No. 3 is off to a great start so far.

On Saturday afternoon, Tequila Patron ESM’s Johannes van Overbeek qualified his No. 2 Tequila Patron-sponsored Ligier JS P2-Honda with a lap of 95.207 seconds (128.562 mph) around Watkins Glen’s 3.4-mile long course to claim the overall pole for Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen.  Van Overbeek’s lap is a course record for current IMSA prototypes at Watkins Glen and nearly three seconds quicker than the fastest lap turned in practice for last year’s race (Note: Qualifying was cancelled last year due to rain).

Van Overbeek was overjoyed with the Ligier’s pace, but deferred to his crew for the congrats.

“The crew did the work. The ESM Patrón guys put together a great car. It’s been nice since the first session,” Van Overbeek said after the session.  “I knew we had the possibility of getting the pole and I didn’t want to let the guys down, so I just closed my eyes and hung on.”

Mazda’s Tristan Nunez was second quickest in the 787B throwback No. 55, two-tenths behind van Overbeek.  Michael Shank Racing‘s Oswaldo Negri, Jr. was third quickest, while Wayne Taylor Racing‘s Ricky Taylor was the fastest of the Daytona Prototype contingent in fourth.  Tom Long in the second Mazda rounded out the top 5.

In Prototype Challenge, Colin Braun has been one of the two fastest drivers all weekend.  However, he did not qualify the No. 54 for CORE autosport.  That opened the door for the other hot shoe, Starworks Motorsport‘s Renger van der Zande, to turn in a hot lap.  He did not disappoint, taking the class pole with a time of 98.407 seconds (124.381 mph).  That time was good enough for ninth overall.

Van der Zande was nearly eight-tenths of a second faster than PR1/Mathiasen MotorsportsRobert Alon in second.  James French was third fastest in the Performance Tech Motorsports No. 38, while Johnny Mowlem was fourth in the BAR1 Motorsports No. 20.  JDC/Miller MotorSportsMisha Goikhberg rounded out the top 5.

In GT Le Mans, the close times from all the practice sessions continued right into qualifying.  The top 4 teams were separated by six-tenths of a second.

In the end, it was Ford Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Richard Westbrook who set the pole-winning time of 101.301 seconds (120.828 mph), a brand-new track record for the class.  Westbrook, who had done all the driving in the No. 67 Ford GT all weekend due to teammate Ryan Briscoe being with his wife Nicole as she gave birth to their second child, was a third of a second faster than BMW Team RLL‘s Dirk Werner in second.  John Edwards was third in the second BMW, then Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford.  Alessandro Pier Guidi rounded out the top 5 in Scuderia Corsa‘s Ferrari 488 GTE.

In GT Daytona, Stevenson Motorsports‘ domination of the speed charts continued in qualifying, but a wrench was thrown into the plans.  Robin Liddell technically won the class pole in the No. 6 Audi R8 LMS GT3.  However, in post-qualifying inspection, the No. 6 was found to be out of compliance on ride height.  As a result, the time was disallowed.  The No. 6 Audi will start the race on Sunday from the rear of the field.

As a result of Liddell’s disqualification, the pole went to Alex Job Racing/Team Seattle‘s Mario Farnbacher with a lap of 105.449 seconds (116.075 mph).  Lawson Aschenbach in the No. 9 Stevenson Audi will start alongside.  Madison Snow qualified the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini third in class, followed by Christina Nielsen in the sole Ferrari 488 GT3 in the field.  Matt McMurry was fifth quickest in the Park Place Motorsports Porsche.

The Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen is scheduled to start at 10:10 a.m. on Sunday.  Live, flag-to-flag coverage will air on FOX Sports 1 starting at 10 a.m.

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Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as Tony Stewart's Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.

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